The Community of Madrid will apply a further 25% reduction in the price of transport pass for the over-65s in 2021
The Community of Madrid will apply a reduction in the price of transport pass for the over-65s in 2021 This is a commitment made by the President of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, to gradually reduce the price until it becomes completely free at the end of the current term. From 1 January, the price of the monthly pass will be 6.30 Euro and the yearly pass 63 Euro, 25% less than currently and half as much as at the beginning of the term.
The Community of Madrid’s Minister of Transport, Mobility and Infrastructure, Ángel Garrido, reported on this measure today during an informative breakfast organised by Executive Forum. “It is a social and recognition initiative with which we try to make it easier for the elderly to keep active and in touch with family members and friends”, the Regional Minister stressed during his speech.
Currently, according to the Consortium’s data, the number of elderly people who have the Senior Citizens Transport Pass is around 935,000. The forecast is that, when the pass is completely free in 2023, 1.02 million elderly people over 65 will be able to benefit from this measure.
Monthly pass users will be able to top up their pass with the new reduced fare from 1 January, as they usually do. For their part, yearly pass users (some 40,100 people) will receive a payment letter with the new fare for the 2021 pass.
COMPATIBLE WITH OTHER DISCOUNTS
The new basic fare for the over-65s pass is also compatible with the additional discounts provided for large families or for people with 65% disability or over. This means that, with this new discount, there are users who will only have to pay 1.80 Euro for the monthly pass (new Senior Citizens fare + discount for special large families + discount for people with 65% disability or over).
“We are driving many initiatives to improve the public transport service so that it meets citizens’ needs in a constantly changing society," said Garrido. Along these lines, he has advanced that the Madrid Regional Transport Consortium is going to review the fare zones, which haven’t changed since 1986, in order to streamline them and reduce their number.
Likewise, the Minister has vindicated the work of the Consortium as a model of integration coordinated by its exclusive authority in the transport area, which is both a national and international benchmark. However, he has pointed out the limitations he faces in his role as coordinator. “We want the role to have executive capacity regarding all infrastructures and means of transport, including suburban trains," he said.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT MEASURES
During the symposium, Garrido reviewed the status of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the future challenges and mobility projects of the Regional Ministry of Transport for this term. “The Community of Madrid will be able to withstand the enormous tensions caused by the virus and will continue to drive the Spanish economy," he said.
To this end, regarding the transport area, the proposal for this term includes the largest extension of the Metro de Madrid network in the last thirteen years and the implementation of many technical and methodological innovations. The aim, he said, is "to make public transport more flexible, comfortable, safe and agile" in order to meet the real needs of a society in constant evolution.
METRO DE MADRID EXTENSIONS
Garrido reiterated his department's major projects for this term, including the largest expansion of the Metro de Madrid network in the last thirteen years. “Keeping the public transport offer as it is would distance it, day by day, from citizens’ needs, which is why we are determined to start the construction of 15 new Metro rail kilometres, the greatest expansion since the 2003-2007 period, and to boost innovation," he stated.
Specifically, the extension of three Metro lines is planned, with an investment of some 650 million Euro. This is the case of line 3 which will connect Villaverde Alto with Metrosur; line 11, which will connect Plaza Elíptica with Atocha and Conde de Casal, and line 5 which will reach the new terminal at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport.
In addition to these extensions, a new branch of the Metro line 8 will be created to serve the Valdebebas district, where a new electric bus system will also be implemented, with an exclusive high-speed lane, called BRT.
The Minister highlighted the work that is being undertaken regarding technical and methodological innovations in public transport. “The overall goal is to improve mobility infrastructure with the integration of every means of transport so that each citizen can plan their own trip by taking advantage of intermodality, digitalising the access to public transport, promoting electrification and autonomous driving,” he said.
“The future of mobility depends not only on electrification but also on connectivity and automation,” explained Garrido, who gave the example of the pilot project for a driverless bus that runs at the Autonomous University. He also said that “the automation of Metro de Madrid is unstoppable" and the sections on which driverless trains could run are already being studied.
The launch of the app so every user can top up their transport pass using their smartphone is also planned for before the end of the year. This will be the first step for the people of Madrid to be able to use their smartphones as a virtual public transport card.
Also before the end of the year, the residents of Sierra Norte will be able to use an on-demand taxi service that will complement public transport and will be offered alongside the Consortium’s on-demand bus project that has already been implemented. The goal is to improve the mobility of the residents and the connection with the larger towns where the basic services are located.
Another improvement set in motion by the Madrid government has to do with the safety of women and minors, who from this month on can request that night buses stop, within their itinerary, as close to their homes as possible.
The Minister also defended the safety of public transport in the Community of Madrid regarding COVID-19, as supported by numerous scientific studies. “Safety in public transport derives from the efforts of the authorities, operators and companies, as well as from the responsibility of passengers who wear their masks during the entire trip," he stressed.
ENDING THE CONFRONTATION
On the other hand, Garrido called today for an end to the confrontation policy and for working to improve the lives of citizens. “Politics against others, whoever these others may be, is an unfortunate resort that only leads to dividing society, generating tension and fear. It is the greatest enemy of progress and development," he stressed.
In Garrido’s opinion, citizens’ representatives have the duty to “make their word a commitment and also a tool for dialogue and agreement.” He, therefore, called for politics to be “an exercise in reflection and negotiation because management should aim to improve the lives of citizens and solve problems, not to generate new ones.”
“If you don’t govern for everyone, you govern against everyone. The commitment to the centre as a model of coexistence, growth and rebalancing is not idealism or utopia, although looking at the current political situation it might seem so, it is a necessity," he said.